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19 August 2011

Engineers Australia rethinks its membership renewals program

As a member-based organisation, Engineers Australia relies on its members’ annual renewal payments as a primary source of income.

A dramatic shift in the way that the organisation marketed the renewal notice to members has delivered more than 13% extra revenue, and significantly improved the renewal process.

The issue with renewals

In the past, when Engineers Australia sent out its annual renewals notice, many members would put the reminder notice in the “I’ll deal with it later” basket. The organisation would then have to spend much of July and August chasing late payments in a bid to collect the renewals income.

To rectify the issue, Engineers Australia sought to improve the way they communicated with members about renewing memberships. At the same time, they partnered with American Express to incentivise the renewals process with a massive prize.

For both of these strategies, Engineers Australia relied on Bienalto to produce the campaign creative and all comms pieces – including letters, EDMs and web content.

The American Express Geneva competition

As part of its Member Benefits program, Engineers Australia offers its members access to an Engineers Australia American Express card. The more members it’s got using these cards, the more residual income Engineers Australia gets from American Express.

This year, they devised a competition to lure more members to sign up with American Express or use their existing card to renew. Essentially, every member that renewed their membership using an American Express card would go in the draw to win a trip for two to Geneva to attend the World Engineering Convention 2011.

The campaign creative for the Geneva competition, which was developed by Bienalto, was used across all communications pieces.

The competition was a raging success, with a significant number of members signing up for new cards through the Engineers Australia program, and a 60% increase in members paying their renewal using their American Express card.

Transforming the renewals process with EDMs

There were exceptional results in the collection of renewals, too.

Bienalto recommended ways to incentivise the complex renewals process; and at the same time made it easier for members to understand what they had to do to renew, how much they had to pay, and when they needed to pay by.

A series of targeted EDMs were sent out in conjunction with a printed mail-out.

“The email campaign played a significant role in the success of our renewals campaign, letting us accurately track members’ intentions and actions in renewing their membership,” said Jamie Penrose, Director, Communications and Marketing.

Most successful renewal period

The 2011 renewals period has been Engineers Australia’s most successful ever. As of June 30, they were 13% ahead in income from membership renewal payments – and the resources usually invested into chasing up late payments have been reallocated into other areas of the business.

“We have successfully achieved two business objectives – encouraging greater spend on our members’ Engineers Australia American Express cards and getting people to renew their membership on time. This is in no small part due to the contribution made by the team at Bienalto,” said Penrose.